Where’s the very worst place to park? Hint: it’s not downtown

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
February 8, 2018 - 5:00am Updated: February 8, 2018 - 11:39am
Image Credit: Mel Rothenburger

KAMLOOPS — If I asked you, “What’s the worst parking experience in the world?” you’d probably answer, “downtown Kamloops.”

If I said, “Nope, try again,” you’d probably say, “Royal Inland Hospital.”

You’d be wrong a second time. It’s not downtown Kamloops, it’s not the hospital. It’s Thompson Rivers University.

It’s a gong show. The more they try to fix it, the worse it gets.

One day last week, I was there for an event and found a spot about half-way to Savona. After trying in vain to figure out the parking kiosk, I stood there, staring blankly at the machine.

Fortunately, a nice student happened along and talked me through it, explaining the improperly labeled buttons, that while the machine said the daily parking rate was both $5 and $4 it really meant $4, and that even though the instructions said to put the receipt on my dashboard, it wasn’t necessary.

The real fun began when I had to leave the conference part-way through the morning. Upon my return 40 minutes later, I commenced an aimless drive around campus looking in vain for another spot. There are premium lots, general lots, gated lots, economy lots, reserved lots, first-come-first-served lots and meters.

There are spaces for electric vehicles, spaces for motorcycles and spaces for handicapped people. But there was none for me.

A couple of lots have marquee-type signs that helpfully tell you when the lot is “Full,” but that doesn’t deter anyone from driving around and around anyway in hopes someone might suddenly leave, so I joined a sort of caravan of parkers without hope.

TRU keeps trying things but nothing works: car pooling, transit, jacking up the rates and, of course, there’s got to be an app for that.

So where did I end up parking? There are 2,200 stalls on that campus and not a one was available. I won’t say which big box store parking lot I parked in off campus, but let’s just say I was desperate and willing to risk a fine.

It’s no wonder so many students do the same.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.